BC-AP News Digest 7 am

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Associated Press

Posted on February 8, 2013 at 5:30 AM

The world at 7 a.m. Times EST.

At the Nerve Center, news producers Barbara Whitaker, Caleb Jones and Karen Mahabir can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Aaron Jackson (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, Bernadette Tuazon (ext. 7636). Expanded AP Content can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact customersupport(at)ap.org or call 877-836-9477. A selection of top photos can be found at http://bit.ly/APTopPhotos

NEW & DEVELOPING

— TUNISIA-ATTACK — Tens of thousands of Tunisians converge on cemetery for slain opposition leader's funeral.

— TRADE GAP — Government reports on the U.S. trade gap for December at 8:30 a.m.

— AMISH ATTACKS — Sentencing set for 9 a.m.

— WHOLESALE INVENTORIES — Government reports how much wholesalers adjusted their stockpiles in December at 10 a.m.

TOP STORIES

NORTHEAST SNOW

BOSTON — A storm poised to dump up to 3 feet of snow from New York City to Boston and beyond could be one for the record books, forecasters warn, as residents scurry to stock up on food and water and road crews ready salt and sand. By Bridget Murphy.

AP photos. AP video planned.

GUN CONTROL-BACKGROUND CHECKS

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan quartet of senators, including two National Rifle Association members and two with "F'' ratings from the potent firearms lobby, are quietly trying to reach a compromise on expanding the requirement for gun-sale background checks. A deal, given a good chance by several participants and lobbyists, could add formidable political momentum to one of the key elements of President Barack Obama's gun control plan. By Alan Fram.

AP photos, video.

AGING AMERICA-ASSISTED SUICIDE

HARTFORD, Conn. — A push for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide is under way in a half dozen states including Connecticut, where proponents say they see strong support for allowing doctors to prescribe mentally competent, dying individuals with the medications needed to take their own lives. By Susan Haigh.

LA POLICE SHOOTINGS

BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. — A police officer and a pair of soon-to-be newlyweds lay dead. Another officer, riddled with bullets, was in intensive care. Two more police were shot at but got away, one of them grazed by gunfire. And despite a massive manhunt that touched three states and two countries, the heavily armed ex-LA cop who promised in his rambling writings to bring "warfare" to police and their families remained free. By Greg Risling and Tami Abdollah.

AP photos, videos.

— LA POLICE SHOOTING-MANIFESTO EXCERPTS — Suspected gunman's manifesto: Tim Tebow, Charlie Sheen and everything in between.

— LA POLICE SHOOTINGS-ANDERSON COOPER — Ex-Los Angeles officer suspected in three shooting deaths sent package to CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

POLAND-TRANSEXUAL LAWMAKER

WARSAW, Poland — The before and after photos of Anna Grodzka show she is like no other politician Poland has ever seen. Grodzka, who attracted huge attention in 2011 by becoming the first transsexual lawmaker in the Polish parliament, has been in the spotlight more than ever in recent days as a vote is expected in parliament that could make her a deputy parliament speaker. By Vanessa Gera.

AP photos.

PAKISTAN-PEACE RICKSHAWS

KARACHI, Pakistan — Pakistani youth leader Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi has a plan to counter the relentless message of violence spewed forth by radical Islamic groups in his country — and he is stealing a gimmick from the hard-liners' own playbook to do it. His weapon: the three-wheeled motorized rickshaws that buzz along Pakistan's streets carrying paying customers and colorful, pro-peace slogans. The message: "I'm driving a rickshaw, not a bullet." By Sebastian Abbot.

AP photos, video.

MORE ON NORTHEAST SNOW

NORTHEAST SNOW-AIRLINES-Q&A

As the Northeast braces for its largest winter storm in more than a year, airlines are already employing a strategy that has served them well in recent years: Cancel flights early and keep planes and crews — and passengers — away from snowed-in airports. By Airlines Writer Scott Mayerowitz.

— NORTHEAST SNOW-AIR TRAVEL — Airlines scrub flights as storm moves along; lots of cancelations in Chicago, Boston, New York.

INTERNATIONAL

MALI-FIGHTING

GAO, Mali — A suicide bomber hits a checkpoint in northern Mali, killing only himself in the first known suicide bombing since French military forces intervened in this chaotic African nation whose northern half was ruled by armed Islamic extremists. By Krista Larson and Baba Ahmed.

AP photos.

— MALI-FRANCE-HOSTAGES — U.S. envoy says French ransoms for hostages ended up funding al-Qaida. AP photo.

BRAZIL-CARNIVAL-FIRE SAFETY

SAO PAULO — Just over a week since a nightclub fire killed nearly 240 revelers in southern Brazil, Carnival festivities hit full stride Friday and nearly all of the nightspots shut down last week are open again, raising questions about safety for those who will pack party spaces across the nation. By Bradley Brooks.

AP photos.

YEAR OF THE SNAKE

TAIPEI, Taiwan — As Indiana Jones might say: Why did it have to be the Year of the Snake? When the Chinese-speaking world ushers in its new year on Sunday, its 12-year zodiac will turn from the dragon to one of the world's most despised animals. This is already a down holiday for some souvenir sellers and could be a slow year for Beijing obstetricians; an appointment setter says fewer prospective parents are setting appointments. But astrologers say they see some good signs for 2013. By Annie Huang.

AP photos, video.

IRAQ

BAGHDAD — Four car bombs strike two outdoor markets in predominantly Shiite areas of Iraq, killing at least 31 people and wounding dozens at a time of mounting discontent among minority Sunnis. By Sinan Salaheddin.

— SYRIA — Bombing this week of military factory in central Syria killed 54 people, activists say. AP photos.

— SOUTH PACIFIC-EARTHQUAKE — Strong aftershock hits tsunami-ravaged isle in Solomons chain, sets back relief efforts. AP photos, graphic.

— BANGLADESH-FERRY ACCIDENT — Ferry with up to 100 passengers aboard capsizes in Bangladesh; dozens rescued, some missing.

— NIGERIA-POLIO-ATTACKS — Witnesses: Suspected members of Nigeria Islamic sect attack polio vaccine drives, killing 12.

WASHINGTON

BRENNAN-CIA

WASHINGTON — CIA Director-designate John Brennan's vigorous defense of drone strikes to kill terror suspects — even American citizens — overseas is causing key lawmakers to consider lifting secrecy from what has become an important weapon in the fight against al-Qaida and push to regulate its use. By Intelligence Writer Kimberly Dozier.

AP photos, videos.

NATIONAL

THE ENDURING IRON

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — When online voters nixed the clothes iron token from Hasbro's Monopoly game, the appliance was held up as passé, as something your grandmother once used to ease the wrinkles out of linens and handkerchiefs. But even with the rise of wrinkle-free fabrics, the iron, it seems, is holding its own, with sales solid and a loyal fan base. By Erika Niedowski.

AP photos.

AMISH ATTACKS

CLEVELAND — A judge sentences 16 Amish for hate-crimes convictions in beard- and hair-cutting attacks on fellow Amish, a case that highlighted issues of dissent and rogue discipline amid an idyllic rural lifestyle of horse buggies and wood stoves. By Thomas J. Sheeran.

AP photos.

— LOTTERY WINNER POISONED — Attorney for widow of poisoned Illinois lottery winner says pact give her most of estate.

POLITICS

CHRISTIE

SEA BRIGHT, N.J. — Chris Christie began the workweek doughnut in hand, playfully embracing fat jokes on David Letterman's couch. The New Jersey governor is outlining a personal and political plan for addressing his weight on his terms — in a more concentrated fashion than perhaps ever before. In a flurry of media attention this week, he's facing a political vulnerability in his indisputable quest to emerge as a key leader in the Republican Party. By Steve Peoples and Angela Della Santi.

AP photos.

BUSINESS

EU-BUDGET

BRUSSELS — European Union leaders close in on a deal that would cut the bloc's budget for the first time in history and deliver a strong message that years of expanding EU powers are on the wane. By Sarah DiLorenzo and Raf Casert.

AP photos.

GETTING ATTENTION

— FRANCE-PAINTING DEFACED — Famed Delacroix canvas defaced at new Louvre in northern France.

— SWEDEN-HORSEMEAT — Lasagna containing horsemeat recalled in Sweden as frozen-food scandal spreads.

— MUSIC-GRAMMYWATCH-BLACK EYED PEAS — Alicia Keys, Bobby Brown, Ludacris and more perform at Will.i.am show.

— PAPUA NEW GUINEA-SORCERY — Woman accused of witchcraft tortured and burned alive by mob in Papua New Guinea. AP photo.

— CELEBRITY PRIVACY-HAWAII — Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler to attend Hawaii hearing on celebrity photo privacy. AP photo.

— PYTHON CHALLENGE-RESCUE — Sheriff: Crews rescue two "stranded and disoriented" python hunters in Florida's Everglades.

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